Sunday, November 30, 2008

Foundation piecing

I made this little Santa wallhanging more than 15 years ago and he still doesn't have any eyes or nose or bell or pompom on his hat. I found it down in the basement with my boxes of paper/foundation piecing patterns and stencils. This one was a stencil with 3 sections that you traced on the foundation material of your choice. I taught this as a class and we used Easy Tear (or Tear Easy, 2 different brand names). I drew them on the Easy Tear, we sewed each of the 3 parts and sewed them together and then we tore out the Easy Tear. It is a sheer product so it is easy to see where you are lining up the new fabrics each time. I only have about 30" left on the binding of the Kaffe quilt from a few days ago. Yea!! The leftovers from Thanksgiving are delicious. And on the downside, we are supposed to get our first snowstorm of the year today and tomorrow. They have upped the amount to around 6" but I hope we get less.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Quilt to finish

20 years ago the Christmas fabrics weren't as pretty as they are now. I made this quilt top a loooong time ago and haven't wanted to finish it. I think this is the year it will get done. I didn't open it all the way up but I think it is a diagonal pattern. The dark green is the border and the poinsettia fabric is the backing.

My dad came out ok at his appt. with the specialist who cauterized a couple places in Dad's nose and wants to see him in 2 weeks. I was back home before 3 p.m. and the meal was great at 5 p.m. I took a small humidifier over to their apartment too so that will help. They keep the apartment so hot that it was really dry in there.

Leftovers! I have leftovers. I won't have to cook anything from scratch for about 4 days. That makes me happy.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Family portrait

There is nothing new going on here, the house is clean (sort of) and I have gotten another side stitched on the binding I am working on.

I thought I would share an old photo with you of my mother's family in 1932. Only my grandma seems interested in looking pleasant for the camera.
I'm not going shopping today, even thought the bargains seem irresistible. I wouldn't be out in that mob for any amount of money. Is black Friday a tradition anywhere except the US? For those in other countries that may not understand, this is the day the merchants hope to be in the black instead of in the red. This is the day that is supposed to make it all better for them.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I got the binding sewn on the quilt and have one side and just around the corner hand sewn. I really like this binding fabric with both sides of the quilt.
Thanks for all of the good wishes for my dad. He is feeling better. They put a balloon in his nose in the ER to stop the bleeding and his Dr. gave him a prescription for an antibiotic. The ER Dr. doesn't think cauterizing is going to work this time for repair. We see a specialist Friday afternoon at 1 who will take out the balloon and analyze the situation. Then Thanksgiving dinner is at 5 the same day at my house. I have all day today to finalize cleaning, set the tables, and bake the desserts. I will have the morning Friday to make the salads, peel the potatoes and prepare the turkey. Then I will stick the bird in the oven and leave to pick up Dad. Lets hope it all goes well.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Patchwork journal cover tutorial

Start with a piece large enough to cover the notebook plus flaps at each end to fold in. This is approximately 3/4" -1" taller than the notebook one way and the measurement around the notebook plus flaps that cover at least 3/4 of the cover on the inside in the other direction. Iron on a piece of fusible fleece or batting the height of the notebook by the measurement around the outside of the closed notebook plus 1/4-1/2".  Experiment to see what you like.
Fold it around the notebook to check if it is big enough. If not add some more fabric to the flaps.
Cut a piece of lining 1/8" smaller each direction. Sew outside patchwork and lining right sides together leaving an opening 3-4" to turn. Trim corners diagonally.
Turn right side out through the opening.

Press very carefully, keeping the lining rolled to the inside. If you want to quilt it, do at this point.
Place it around the notebook and fold the flaps in, not pulling too tight because you are going to topstitch all around and you need a little extending. Pin the flaps in place to be sewn in the topstitching.
Topstitch very close to the edge catching the flaps as you go. I will warn you, they want to flip under as you get to them so you may want to pin them in place. This is what it looks like after topstitching.
This is what the inside looks like after topstitching.
Here is the notebook slipped into the flaps.
On the next one I am going to make the inside flaps bigger so they cover all of the wording inside the back cover of the Composition book.
Here is a shot of the book laying on a table.
Here is a close up of the topstitching.

I ended up taking Dad to the emergency room for a nosebleed and then to a dr. appt. in the afternoon, so needless to say, the cleaning isn't done but the tutorial is. You can see where my priorities are.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

How to procrastinate, lesson 1

Should I get out the vacuum cleaner (and use it) to be ready for Thanksgiving dinner? No, I think I need to read the 2 magazines I got in the mail last week. Last night I started on a journal cover that I hope to use to do a little tutorial. I have cut the patchwork to the right height (3/4" to 1" taller than the notebook).
I am using a Composition book for this one. I need to add fabric for the inside flap.

Today I will get serious about cleaning. Yesterday was grocery shopping for the parents, getting gas, etc. No excuses, today I will get busy. Oh, but I just got a call from my mother and now I need to run out and get something for them.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Done quilting, ready for binding

I finished quilting this quilt last night and finally found a print I like for binding. Click for a larger view. Notice the Kaffe fabric for the back too, from one of those 55% off sales of his older fabrics. Click here for a full view of this quilt. My goal is to have the binding done by the time I have the Thanksgiving dinner here on Friday. I have a lot of cleaning to do (don't we all?) before company comes so the sewing machine may get lonely.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

All wrapped up

Here are all 12 towels ready to put in the Advent bags. Mine are for the 17th day. As a child I had never heard of Advent calendars. Later I learned about the gift for each of the days starting with Dec. first and going until Christmas day. A lot of our church members each signed up for a different day and wrote down what they would be getting. Some of the items are greeting cards, pen and pencils, paper plates and matching napkins, applesauce, snack crackers, etc. My parents receive one of the bags and it gives them something to look forward to each day.

Today is supposed to be warmer than yesterday, which is welcome. It has been a cold week.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Advent bag gifts

Our church makes 12 Advent bags each year and this year I volunteered to do an embroidery of the church on kitchen towels. Here are 9 of the 12 needed. I will have to do 3 more after work and then wrap all of them. I scanned the drawing of the church from our church bulletin and took the .bmp into class for "Quiltworks" which will turn a drawing into stitches.
A lot of times I do the machine embroidery redwork without a stabilizer, but I wasn't happy with my first try at that (not pictured). Then I tried a waffle weave towel with a crisp paper type stabilizer, but I had to wet it to get all of the paper out and I didn't want to do that on 12 of them. Finally I went to Easy Tear lightweight stabilizer and it worked well. There was a lot of thread breakage with cotton embroidery thread, so each 7 minute embroidery took me about 15 minutes (or more) from hooping to finish.

Here are the cards from yesterday's post with the stitching done around the edges.
Hi, ho, hi, ho, it's off to work I go. I'm filling in for someone today and luckily Saturday is a short day at the store.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Birthday cards

I started giving fabric birthday cards last February for the first sister in law birthday of the years so I have to follow through for today's lunch. I am usually using up some test embroideries that I did and was happy to find two school related ones in the bunch.

When I get home from lunch I have to embroider a redwork picture of my church on 12 dishtowels for the Advent bags. I have to deliver them to church on Sunday and I have to fill in at the store tomorrow. This has been a busy week!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A good visit

Yesterday a couple other friends and I visited Diane from the Persnickety blog. We used to all work together at a quilt shop in the area. We had a wonderful day catching up on each other's lives and looking at fabric and quilts. I had to rush home to pick up my parents for a chiropractor appointment after stopping at the quilt shop in the vicinity. It was my dad's 95th birthday yesterday so he picked the restaurant to eat at after the appointment. It is impossible to find anything to buy him for his birthday so I got him a hot fudge sundae which he enjoyed immensely.

Here are my purchases: a package of Thangles that my local quilt shop didn't have and part of a yard of a neat purple batik.
Here are the backs of the journal covers from yesterday. To answer a few questions about them, I buy little notebooks at several different stores, always trying to find the perfect one. Then I measure them and custom make the covers to fit them. There is a flap inside both ends that the covers fit into. I can't take a picture and show you because I sold all of these yesterday to a friend who requested some from me. I'll be making more in a couple days so I'll take more shots then.
Today is another busy day with an embroidery club meeting this afternoon and computer club tonight. I have to make a couple gifts to take to a birthday lunch tomorrow, so the day is filled.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Journal covers

I have started using some of my strip sets in journal covers. On this one I used another of my scanned and printed leaves. I had a trial embroidery that matched the colors in this strip piecing.
This strip piecing wasn't quite long enough so I added and end strip and I like it.

I added the end strip to this one too.
This picture would have been the first one if Blogger was behaving like it used to and would post them in the order I entered them.
I'm on the road to see friends today. The sun is shining and it is supposed to be the warmest day this week, all the way up to the mid 40's.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Chrismons are handmade Christmas tree ornaments with various symbols of Christianity, some of which are more like a monogram. That is where the "mon" part of the name comes from. I had never heard of them either before our group was making them. I searched on the internet and found beaded felt and cross stitch varieties. We are making ours of gold (metal beads) and white (pearls) which is traditional. Here is an assortment that our leader made in advance. The one in the bottom right corner is the one we made last week. This is how we work, beads on a styrofoam plate or bowl, and copper wire.
This is one of the two I made yesterday, with the wires needing to be woven in yet. I couldn't get a good picture. They are even prettier than it looks here and all of the beads are shiny gold, not dark like they look in the center row. We will continue making them next year until we have enough to fill our tree.

The quilt in yesterday's post was a Buggy Barn pattern. If you click here it will take you back to the post where I first showed this top and I explain more about the pattern there.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Another flannel finsh

This quilt has been waiting to be finished for over 5 years. Finally last week its turn came up. I finished the binding by machine since it will be used and washed a lot. It will look great in my living room with the red accents. I just did an all over meander with a few hearts thrown in. I did a heart in the center of each heart and then a few scattered here and there in the background.
Today I will go for our last session of making Chrismons for our Christmas tree at church. We are making them out of beads and copper wire, a new experience for me.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Strip setsomania

Did you like my new word, setsomania? While cleaning the studio and moving things around I also grouped like things together. Here are the piles of strip sets. I think I need to do something with them now. I am so glad I left the cone flower seed heads in the back yard. There are 3 finches in this picture having lunch.
Have a happy Sunday everyone.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Birthday gift

Here is one of the gifts I received for my birthday, a coffee table book. It has some beautiful pictures and a wealth of information. The studio is still torn up. I can't decide on an arrangement for the furniture, so back at it today.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Maybe I can save it....

I really enjoyed all of the comments yesterday with a lot of ideas to try on this little piece. I really liked Julie's idea for adding an appliqued strip in the middle of a border. I just pulled scraps from the "too small to sew with" bag and laid them on the borders. I like the way the dots in the pink one on the right blend right in with the dots of the background. I think I will look through my batiks for some more dotted ones and then decide whether I want it multicolor like it is or just one color added to the borders. Then the decision of whether I will fuse or slice the borders and piece it in.....

It's my birthday today so I am going to spend the day rearranging the furniture in my studio. I have my sewing machine cabinet next to the window for 3 seasons, but I like it across the room in the winter in a warmer spot. I am so happy the furniture in that room is mostly all on wheels. It is just the other stuff that takes time to move.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

What was I thinking?

Just so you don't think that everything I make is a winner, here is what I made last night. What in the world was I thinking? It looked ok when I laid it on the dotted fabric, but then I forgot to cut the sashing on both lengthwise and crosswise grains to have the dot lines all going the same direction. It is a total disaster and I haven't figured out any way to save it. It is only 13" x 14" so I haven't wasted a lot of fabric. I liked Cathi's suggestion yesterday about using some of my strip sets on journal quilts. What is more "me" anyway than a bunch of little pieces made into strip piecing.

I didn't get any farther than just laying a couple pieces on a base though.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Not acomplishing much

I have a million things to do so I just went around in circles all day yesterday. Last night I decided it was playtime again and just made strip sets while watching TV.

Today I need to make a list and stick to it.

Yesterday I had about 150 new visitors, from a yahoo group I think. Can anyone tell me what they said about me?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Between projects

Every time I am between projects I make more strip piecing from my batik scraps and clean up cuts. I do a major sorting before I start since all scraps just get thrown into a heap. This little basket contains full width strips (clean up cut strips).
I sort the rest by lengths into groups. This is why there are so many different length sewn sections.

I start sewing the pieces that are in one of the groups, and when I am bored with the color selection I go to the basket of full width strips and cut off a piece for the length I am working with.
You can go to this post to see some of the things I do with these pieces. I have some new ideas for the latest batches.